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This sexy military pilot is about to meet his match in an unpredictable former beauty queen!
Kaci Boudreaux is every Southern mama’s nightmare, including her own. This former Miss Grits would rather tromp around in boots shooting off potato guns—and her mouth—than dress pretty and play nice with the boys. Especially her chauvinistic fellow professors, her ex-husband, and those military cargo pilots she’s at war with after a pumpkin chunkin’ disaster.
Lance Wheeler is every Southern belle’s dream, except his ex-fiancé’s. After being left at the altar, he’d love to take his C-130 and fly far, far away. But since he and his bird technically belong to Uncle Sam, a distraction in the form of a feisty fireball of a physics professor will do while he’s waiting for his next deployment with the Air Force.
He’s into her for the fun. She’s into him for the challenge. But when their secrets and fears start slipping out, their hearts—and even her job—will be on the line. She needs roots. He wants to see the world. What will they do about needing each other?
Lance Wheeler should’ve been at his wedding.
He had the rings. The church. The tux. The reception hall, the caterers, and the flowers and cake and photographer. He had next week off for his honeymoon.
But as of five days ago, he no longer had a fiancée.
As of an hour ago, he’d ditched his friends and their efforts to cheer him up.
Somewhere between the time he’d met Allison and this past Monday, when she’d decided her life was going in a different direction, he’d lost his taste for the party scene.
Would’ve rather been up at thirty thousand feet, just him and his bird dancing between the earth and the sky. Flirting with the heavens while he worked out this weird mix of pain, loneliness, and a surprising tremor of relief. Unfortunately, his commander had grounded him while he got his head back on straight.
So here he was, on a hard wooden stool on a lonely Saturday night, a full beer taunting him on the bar.
This was what he was supposed to do. Get drunk. Find a chick. Screw around.
Problem was, he couldn’t remember how.
Someone shuffled to the bar beside him. “Gimme a tequila, sugar. And if you got a chaser that’ll make my ex disappear, I’ll take that too.”
Lance twisted his neck to investigate and almost fell off his stool.
She couldn’t have stood taller than five-four and had the right amount of curve on every inch of her petite body. The breasts under her pink T-shirt, the hips in her tight jeans, even her slender arms and neck had graceful arcs to them. Her blond hair fell in waves about her smooth, round cheeks, and her eyes were sparks of blue mischief even while her pink lips were drawn into a fierce line.
Her hands trembled. She fisted them and pressed them into the bar.
His groin stirred. So did his pride. Some guilt, too.
She flicked a glance in his direction.
He should’ve gone back to minding his own business.
But when she did a double take, her eyes widening and her lips parting, all of his blood converged south.
“Evening,” he said.
Her knuckles were white, but she was smooth, coordinated grace when she nodded to his beer. “You fixin’ to drink that? Because if not, I’d be happy to toss it on back.”
An honest smile tugged his lips. That hadn’t happened in six days. “All yours so long as I get to watch.”
“It have anyone’s name on it already?”
It did, but she wasn’t there.
And the she in question didn’t drink beer. Or do shots. Or say fixin’ to. “Nope.”
The blonde flicked a look over her shoulder. Her left cheek twitched. She slid onto the stool beside him, twisted so her knees touched his thigh, and pulled his beer to her spot. “Too kind of you.”
“Anything to help a lady in distress.”
Guilt stabbed him in the chest again, but he shook it off.
He wasn’t married. He wasn’t engaged. He wasn’t dating anyone.
He was absolutely, one hundred percent single. He was free to flirt with a sexy blonde.
Even if being a bachelor was still a foreign sensation.
Was Allison out drinking tonight? Was she with someone?
And would it honestly bother him if she were? Why should he want a woman who didn’t want him?
“You from round here?” the blonde asked.
“Today.” Not much longer if he had his choice. “You?”
She chuckled. “Sure, sugar. I’m from round here today too.” She angled closer to him, those perfect breasts mere inches from his arm.
He might’ve been out of the dating scene for the last three years, but he recognized a woman on a mission to make another man jealous.
And he didn’t mind a damn bit.
Would’ve been doing the same if his ex were sitting in the bar, watching him.
The bartender delivered her tequila. She licked the salt off the rim with a dart of her quick pink tongue, tossed the glass back, and then expertly sucked the lime.
“You from round here just today?” he asked.
She winked as she finished the lime. “I’m from round the corner most every day.”
He slid a glance around the bar. Two guys were playing pool. Couples and groups occupied nearly every other table. A few people looked their way, but Lance couldn’t immediately pick out a jealous ex-boyfriend staring him down.
Just an older dude watching them.
Couldn’t blame the guy.
The blonde reached up and plucked at his short hair. He’d even gotten his wedding haircut before Allison dumped him.
“Got a little piece of something up there,” she said, but her eyes said this was all a game.
“You really want to make him jealous, don’t you?” he murmured.
“If it was legal, I’d strap the man to a rocket and send him back where he came from. But since it’s not, I’ll settle for demonstrating for him that I’m moving on. That okay with you?”
“Sure, seeing as I’m here today.”
“Awful darn nice of you.” She crossed her legs and put a hand on his knee. “I’ll owe you one. But I’m off men right now. Just so you know.”
“Even just for…today?” The words slipped out before he realized he’d even thought them, but he didn’t want to take them back.
Because her eyes locked on his, shimmering and intrigued, while her hand tightened on his knee. “What kind of girl do you take me for?”
“The kind who didn’t just get up and walk away.”
His heart knocked at his breastbone. His fingers shook. There was every possibility she would throw his beer back in his face.
Probably needed it. Would be a good wake-up call.
“You military?” she said.
“Don’t you ma’am me. What do you think I am, old enough to be your momma?”
“Old enough to be the sexy schoolgirl around the corner.” He didn’t even know her name, but flirting with this woman was making him feel more normal, less off-kilter and more focused than he’d been all week.
She’d probably shoot him down, but what the hell did he have left to lose?
“Just today, hmm?” She slowly licked her lips.
The sight of her tongue sent his remaining blood straight to his dick. “Today’s all we ever have,” he said.